When a trip falls apart… In this case, mine.

International Airport Board Close-Up with Cancelled Flights

Sometimes regardless of the situation, you have to step back and look at the reality of the events around you- then make a smart decision based on those events.  After that, you then have to come to the conclusion that not everything is in your control.

Let me give you some fun background information. Yet again I will mention that I am a travel agent by profession- with that said, that does not mean everything always works out according to plan even for myself. I had a perfectly pieced together trip planned this coming September. I was going to fly into Jordan for a 1 week tour around, then from there fly to Cairo to explore Egypt’s vast wonders and culture, which would then be followed by a hop over to Munich for Oktoberfest! What an amazingly wonderful/random trip it would have been…. Then comes the crash followed by the burn.

With the unforeseen events of Egypt’s political/social standing, inevitably the mid portion of that holiday had to be cancelled. With no embassy officials in the country, no stability and no imminent safety, it was the smartest decision to remove that portion of the tour. Although not usually being fearful of a country’s hardships and difference in political standings, with more and more issues arising, it was necessary to back out…especially for my mom’s sake (She probably would not have slept for 2 weeks). With that said, I had a 1 week gap with nothing to do. You would think that the options are endless…and really they could be- however to match the dates, re-route the flights, re-organize the plans and still fit into a short period of time are a logistical nightmare. Then on top of that, to no fault of their own, my fellow traveller who was meant to meet me in Munich got cold feet, therefore backing out of Oktoberfest.

This is the point where most people would be rather upset- thinking a trip is ruined, and no longer of value in taking. In a way that is true, but here are my thoughts on it.

With a concept stolen directly from meetings at work (and this is where I expect my work friends to think I am completely lame), I can make sense and bring reality to any situation. This is the concept of C.I.A.- very simply the idea of what you can Control, Influence and Accept. In terms of control, you have to step back, look at the situation at hand and look at all the items you can control in that given situation. In regards to influence, some things are not as simple as controlling them, however many situations can be swayed- find out what those options are. Finally there is accept, the things that can’t be controlled or influenced by you, just have to be accepted.

Now let’s bring this back to a travel related situation as this concept is a perfect way to handle any unforeseen travel related blunders.

Let’s use my personal example and put this concept to work.

Control– The only things in my control in this situation will be the decisions I make. I can control what I actually do in the empty portion of my trip- perhaps go somewhere else, maybe extend my stay in Jordan etc., I can re-route my flights, I can cancel the whole trip or I can just go with it as is and find a filler. Those are the things I am actually capable of changing and controlling in this situation.

Influence– If need be, I can likely influence my friend to continue on with the Oktoberfest portion as planned, Therefore not having to cancel that portion of the trip.

Accept– In this case I have to accept that Egypt is in political turmoil. I also have to accept that for safety reasons, tours were in fact cancelled without my control. With that said I have to accept that I have a hole in this trip that may not be fixed. My friend is likely going to cancel their portion and that is in their control not mine.

Once you look at those three things, you have to decide what items out-weigh the others. Reality is, it probably wasn’t the best news at the time, however once seeing the things that are in your control, it really puts into perspective that you are the final decision maker.

This is/was my final decision…

With the help of travel insurance (and yes, it is very useful), I cancelled my original flight(s) and made a claim through my insurance company as Egypt’s travel advisory has now changed to “avoid all non essential travel”, turning it into a covered risk. Jordan is the only item that seems to be unaffected, so after cancelling that flight I will then rebook one to just go round trip into and out of Amman, Jordan. Unfortunately that leaves me cancelling Oktoberfest and shortening my trip from 3 weeks to 1, which makes me the saddest about this whole situation. However, c’est la vie, as they say, and time to move on.

Moral of the story…plans do not always work out, but there should always be the positives that are viewed. For instance, I am still going to Jordan (YAY!), I just regained vacation days that could be put forth towards something else (like India!!!) ! The plan B isn’t always a bad situation; it is just learning how to deal with the initial disappointment of it. Remember, your feelings are really actions that are in your control, and it can happen to ANYONE, so just step back, find the bright side and start planning something new.

I have always been a big believer in certain things happening or not happening for a reason, keeping that in mind, although it wasn’t my time to get away, that doesn’t mean it never will be. Also, don’t forget that your travel enjoyment will be based on your attitude, so if disappointment out-weighs excitement of the plan-b option, don’t go- it will be a terrible time all together. I am making the choice to have a great time for what remains of this trip… what will your choice be when things don’t go quite as planned?

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